To read this month’s edition click Bridgemedia December 2017
Welcome to Bridgemead
Open Reception : Monday to Friday - 9am to 5pm
Contact : 01225 484904
Geoff Weekes, Chair of Bridgemead Trustees, thanked all the friends and supporters of Bridgemead at the 25th birthday party held at Bridgemead on 23rd November. Around 60 supporters came including the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rob Appleyard, who said “I’ve visited Bridgemead several times and really feel the incredible warmth of the place.”
A Happy Place
The Revd Neville Pearce said:
“This takes me back 25 years, going round all the churches with Ray King and raising money for Bridgemead to be built. It’s a wonderful place, and now I’m a potential resident…”
Ex volunteer Morfydd Jones agreed: “Bridgemead is such a happy place. I volunteered doing the trolley here for six years, but then had to stop when I got shingles. Now I’ve got my name on the list….”
A vast array of enticing canapes were provided by Una McCullogh and her team. Sally Fuller and Frankie Knapp who have visited Bridgemead for many years said it was a very good event and “the food was wonderful.”
Geoff Weekes said: ” We are so grateful for everyone for all their contributions, giving their time, money and prayers. Through your support many lives have been touched and elderly people have flourished.” Marian McNeir, MBE and Patron of Bridgemead explained that her mother was a resident and she “spent her last years here being loved and cherished. My family is so impressed by all the staff and trustees who care so passionately and it is that passion which will help us realise our vision.”
Geoff Weekes went on to talk about the need for a new vision for Bridgemead which is informed by today’s needs – the rising river levels, and the increasingly complex care needs of the residents.
“Some of the people here have been involved since Bridgemead was built, or even before that, and some are far more recent, but everyone’s contribution is so valuable. We are so grateful and it is lovely to see so many people here and feel the huge support for Bridgemead both in the past and in the future. We can continue to make a difference to the lives of our residents and their families, as well as to the community of Bath.”
All welcome to Bridgemead Christmas Fayre on Saturday 2nd December at 2.30pm. We have stalls offering:
This festive event will take place at Bridgemead, and we look forward to seeing everyone there!
Una McCullough, Chair of Bridgemead Friends, says “The Murder Mystery evening at Long’s Arms at South Wraxall was a great success. There were 45 guests and nearly all of the guests, or suspects, dressed up so they could be questioned and the murder solved. I think the Elvis impersonator, Mr Lee Hayward, was great, even down to a convincing drawl.
The Mystery was set mostly in Atlantic City, outside a Casino, and the murderer was revealed at the end of the meal.
The food was delicious – a lovely three course meal which was cooked, served and very generously donated by Rob and Liz of the Long’s Arms. They allowed us to use their pub free of charge, whilst donating the whole evening to Bridgemead – we are very grateful. Many thanks to Pam and Bev who organised the whole event.”
Betty Cooper, aged 96, has just published the sparkling ‘A Run Ashore’, chronicling a life well-travelled. Her adventures take her from the age of 9 in the ’Villa Azur’ in the French Riviera, to working and living in India, Singapore, Cairo, in the war and then Greece and South Africa in the late 1940s and 1950s.
Writing the book
Betty says; “I did not want to write an autobiography, but a travel book. I wanted something to do, in retirement; I’ve always worked. I’m very fond of travel; always love to get up and go, so I thought this is what I’ll write about. It has taken me exactly one year to write.”
‘A Run Ashore’
She explains the title of her book: “When I was bad tempered at Haslar in Gosport, at home with a very small child my husband said: ‘What you need is a run ashore, we’ll work on it.’ It is a naval term for stressed sailors far from home who are given some shore leave to revitalise them.”
Betty studied social science at Bedford College, University of London and was evacuated to finish her studies at Cambridge, which she describes as “intoxicating!” She continued to train at the Institute of Personnel Management and worked in Tyneside, Hull, London and Birmingham.
In 1945 she joined Red Cross to become a ‘Service Hospitals Welfare Officer’ and prepared to serve in India. She was warned by Dame Beryl Oliver:
‘remember that on your travels you will meet men and face many temptations. One glass of sherry may be most enjoyable, but too many and a Gel may forget herself.’
“I was sent to Bombay and then in to deeper India and Bangalore, where I was Quarter-Master of a convalescent hospital. I went to a tea plantation and to a hill station in Ootacamund where there was a Hunt Ball at the Ooti Club. We ate well and there were dances but many simple folk looked at me with fear in their eyes… I was an Intruder.”
Next, she was sent to Singapore to locate Japanese-held prisoners of war to send home for rehabilitation. Living in Raffles Hotel was ‘marvellous, especially from the boyfriend point of view. The hotel was dowdy, but it was so exciting – we had the time of our lives as there were so few girls there. However, I did become engaged to a married man…’
Her next posting was Cairo. ‘I’ve always liked the Middle East. Cairo was a fascinating and often evil city.” She travelled widely in Syria and Lebanon.
In 1948 she returned to England to work at the British Council, meeting Anthony Blunt and Roberto Rossellini among others. She also met and married her husband, John. “We were a very happy couple,” she says. Betty travelled with him to Greece when he was posted to the British Naval Mission in Athens, and then to Simons Town, South Africa.
Betty says of her daughters Judith and Sarie: “My two daughters have both been looking after me so well. They are both exceptionally nice people and I’m very proud of them. They are very well-travelled and have lived abroad a lot.”
“Bridgemead is a marvellous place, absolutely splendid. I can only speak highly of it. It’s terrific and I’m all in favour of it – it’s quite wonderful.”
It was a great pleasure to meet Betty and hear and read about glittering travels. She was very pleased to have her book published and is delighted with the cover designed by her god-daughter.
Her book is on sale in Oldfield Park Bookshop and at the Holburne Museum.
Some Bridgemead residents went to visit Widcombe Acorns Pre-School on Wednesday 18th October. Dena Moore, the nursery manager says:
“What a wonderful time we had meeting some of your residents yesterday, the children have talked of nothing else, and I have had such lovely e-mails from some of the parents this morning saying that their children told them all about it. Such a great result, I really hope that our visitors enjoyed themselves as much as we did welcoming them.”
Pam, Michelle and Dena are trying to arrange a regular activities afternoon where the children come to Bridgemead, rather than taking residents to the Pre-School, but the sticking point at the moment is affordable transport. They are investigating how to achieve this, as Dena says: “I am even more determined to make this work after seeing how happy our new friends looked as they played, it has given me a huge warm glow inside!”
If anyone can help or has any ideas please contact Pam.
A logo was designed by Mytton Williams based on this research and incorporating the reliefs on Cleveland Bridge.
Mr James and Mrs Joanna Whitehead, owners of the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle – about 6m wide and 1.5m high when assembled, and 32,256 pieces, donated it to Bridgemead today.
Mr Whitehead says: “My wife Joanna and I were one of the first to complete the puzzle in the UK not long after it came out. We have only made it once after which we took it apart in large panels and put it into bags back into its rather large box. Rather than selling it on, we wanted to find a community group that might enjoy assembling it and are very happy to give it to Bridgemead.”“We bought the puzzle as a nice challenge and really enjoyed chatting together as we put it together. It took us 8 weeks in total to complete, but that was before we had children!” Mr and Mrs Whitehead enjoy a challenge, they set up the world’s largest Umbrella Dance in Laura Place in 2009 and the world’s largest Group Waltz in Abbey Square in 2008.Their daughters Lydia (2) and Freya (14 weeks) joined them at the presentation.
The Mayor of Bath, Cllr Ian Gilchrist thought of Bridgemead straight away when Mr and Mrs Whitehead asked him to suggest a home for the giant puzzle. When visiting his mother in her care home he saw how much pleasure the residents gained from completing puzzles. He said “Bridgemead occupies a position of great respect and authority in the world of Care Homes, so it was the first place I thought of as a recipient for the puzzle.”
Marian McNeir, MBE, Patron of Bridgemead, said: “We are thrilled to receive this most unusual gift: the largest puzzle in the world, which even has its own trolley! It will great fun for the residents and we will also invite some of the children in local schools to come and help. When completed we will be auctioning it at our charity auction at the Gainsborough Hotel on 7th March 2018.”
Listen to the interview on Radio Bristol on 20th October
Many thanks to Rob and Liz for hosting.